Charlotte County Public Schools taps nonprofit for super search

District will pay $30K to find new school chief

SUN Port Charlotte | By Sue Erwin | December 19, 2022

PORT CHARLOTTE — In its quest to hire a new superintendent, Charlotte County Public Schools will get help from a nonprofit organization in Tallahassee.

During a special meeting Monday, the School Board unanimously approved a professional services agreement with the Florida School Boards Association to help find a new superintendent.

The agreement includes a fixed fee of $30,000.

Chair Cara Reynolds moved to approve the agreement at Monday’s meeting. Vice chair Wendy Atkinson seconded the motion.

The School Board heard a presentation from Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Andrea Messina during its workshop Wednesday.

“After Ms. Messina came in and showed us all the working parts in the process, I welcome this partnership with FSBA,” Atkinson said.

Board member John LeClair agreed.

“I’d also like to mention that after reading the very positive comments about their professionalism and expertise, I think this is the right partnership,” LeClair said.

The FSBA will lead the district’s search to replace Steve Dionisio, who announced his retirement in November after eight years in charge of Charlotte County schools.

Messina previously worked and lived in Charlotte County for years, teaching at three area high schools and serving on its School Board for 12 years. She moved to Tallahassee in 2015 to lead the FSBA.

Messina gave a reason to consider using FSBA at last week’s workshop.

“You’re going to be competing with other districts,’’ she told board members.

Sarasota, Manatee and Collier counties “are all looking for superintendents at the same time,” Messina said at the workshop.

At the workshop, Messina said the vetting and hiring process for a superintendent can be “tedious” and many school boards rely on outside help.

“When it comes down to the final candidates, background checks and in-person interviews with the candidates would be among the final steps.”

Dionisio pledged to stay on until a superintendent is found.

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